I’ve never been a big spender. I’d watch friends go on monthly shopping sprees and wonder how they’re doing it. We had similar incomes, if anything I had an advantage with the added income from my husband, but I certainly couldn’t afford to go shopping like they did as often as they did. As an adult I have never been in a situation to just spend.
Before we got real about budgeting and financial control to pay our debts off our finances were all over the place. I simply had no control over the money coming in and out. Even though we make significantly more now, our disposable income was probably better than given we were renting and not homeowners, but we never seemed to have much ”fun money”.
In the past three years, since we’ve become serious about paying our debt off, we don’t have much disposable income by choice. While I can now see how friends of mine may have been able to go on monthly shopping trips, I also see how they weren’t maximizing their financial potential (student loans, mortgages, vehicle loans). Though I didn’t know it at the time, I had essentially forced my budget onto a detox.
Given that I’ve never had an opportunity to really spend money, to this day, I don’t. Long term I can only see how this would be a good thing. Detoxing ones budget is like a dietary detox. Cut out triggers.
Clothes, gadgets, shoes, books.
Whatever it is, stop buying it. After a while the urges will go away and you’ll gain a real perspective on what you really do and do not need.
For me, the little disposable income I did spend was often on home things, decorations and DIY supplies. I would get an idea in my head and before I know it, drop $50 on supplies for a half-thought out plan. I really love doing things around the home but once I put myself on a self-imposed detox I gained a lot of perspective.
It was during this detox that I started a blog, something that feeds my creative side way more than my half ass attempts at DIY anything. Detoxing our finances allowed me to gain real perspective on our spending on what and when we really need things. For years ”complete kitchen backsplash” was on my priority to-do list, often ahead of things like ”pay off student loan”. Though I’d like to eventually do this, it is so not a priority, though it would look nice, I can certainly live without it!
Some people go on spending fasts, no-buy months. But for me it’s too generic. I know my triggers (books, home stuff, kids stuff). By not buying anything of any given category for a certain length of time, it realigns exactly what my needs really are (recognizing that kiddo doesn’t need another dress, I want it only because I think she’d look awfully cute in it, therefore we don’t buy it). Not buying things I think I want was how I learned the rule: If you have to justify a purchase, you probably don’t need it. Something I still live by.
Do you recognize your spending triggers? How do you avoid them?